Category Archives: Books

Eye Am A Scottish Peasant

Ian Fleming at his desk at Goldeneye, Jamaica
With the recent happy announcement that Sean Connery is dubbed a knight of the realm on behalf of Her Majesty’s Non-Secret Service to Great Britain (along with Bond ambassadors-at-large Jane Seymour and Shirley Bassey) we recall to mind the 00-turn down of a similar offer of knighthood by James B. in Ian Fleming’s “the Man With The Golden Gun” as follows:


Mary Goodnight broke in, horrified. “James. The rest is your business, but you really can’t say that last bit.”

Bond nodded. “I was only trying it on you, Mary. All right, let’s start again at the last stop. Right…


…[Bond to Goodnight] “I just refuse to call myself Sir James Bond. I’d laugh at myself every time I looked in the mirror to shave.”

Long live the peasant, and so say all of us! Happy landings, Sir Sean!

Lucy Fleming

Lucy Williams (nee Fleming) was born May 15th, 1947. Her father, writer/author Peter Fleming (1907-1971), remarked that by age 10, she was a “good horsewoman”, and by age 14, a “keen and talented shot”: “She began by hitting a woodcock and a driven cock pheasant – never having handled a shotgun before – the first time I took her out, and went on to shoot consistently well. I suppose I enjoyed her prowess and her companionship as much as I have enjoyed anything in the way of shooting.”

Her mother, actress Celia Johnson (1908-1982), is best known for her Academy Award nominated performance in David Lean`s film BRIEF ENCOUNTER (co-written by Ian and Ann Fleming`s friend Noel Coward). Lucy Fleming followed in her mother`s footsteps having wanted to be an actress ever since seeing her mother perform in the Robert Bolt play THE FLOWERING CHERRY. She began with the Farnham repertory company and subsequently went on to the Royal Court Theatre. She even appeared with her mother in several productions including a revival of the Noel Coward play HAY FEVER, and the 1968 BBC production (co-starring Charles Gray; Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the Bond film DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER). She married Joe Laycock (son of Major-General Sir Robert Laycock, an old Peter Fleming friend) in 1971 and they had several children. After a family tragedy in the early 1980s, she married actor/writer Simon Williams, best known for playing the part of Captain Bellamy in the British series UPSTAIRS,DOWNSTAIRS, and also portrayed Nigel Pennington-Smythe in the 1983 tv movie THE RETURN OF THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E (featuring one-time James Bond George Lazenby in a Bondish cameo), and wrote the novels TALKING OSCARS (pub 1988) and KILL THE LIGHTSS (pub 1991).

Lucy Fleming`s step-children, Tam and Amy Williams also act, though her own son designs websites. According to Lucy Fleming, “For an actor there`s a rather worrying time when the final dress rehearsal is over and there`s an hour or so to kill before you present the play to its first audience. There`s not much to do except heed the director`s last-minute notes, open some good-luck cards and panic.” These are her screen credits:,+Lucy (So why don`t the Bond producers give her a cameo in a film?)

She starred in the 70`s cult tv series THE SURVIVORS and was recently seen in the miniseries adaptation of Anthony Powell`s A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME. Lucy Fleming complained in an interview about the lack of film and tv parts for women her age, so instead has appeared mostly on the stage, quite recently in her own husband`s play LAYING THE GHOST.

Her husband told the Daily Mail that “She doesn`t like to be told what to do, so it was a tricky business getting her to do it. Cleverly, I persuaded her by simply leaving the manuscript lying around the house and when she eventually asked who was going to play Judith, I replied sheepishly: “I was rather hoping you would, my dear.” They are in rehearsal and I keep wanting to make the odd little change . . . so I`ve been banned. They`ve even put a combination lock on the rehearsal room!”

In 1993 Lucy Fleming was one of two people selected from 2,687 entrants for the Times sponsored berth in the around-the-world BT Global Challenge voyage, but was forced to withdraw after her brother Nichol died unexpectedly from a heart-attack, aged 56 (the same age as their uncle Ian Fleming when he died). She later wrote a delightful article in The Spectator describing her participation in the 40-day, 7000 mile leg five of the race spanning from Capetown, South Africa to Boston. She was put in charge of weather faxes for her watch, suspecting that this was a wheeze for getting useless crew members out of the way:

“Food started off very promisingly but things declined as the fresh food ran out and dried goods appeared looking like dog food and, even after much inventive preparation, mostly tasting pretty similar. Drinks were the usual hot ones or something called “refresh”, which didn`t. The watermaker converted salt water into slightly less salty water and made a noise like a gout ridden MFH every time it started up. All the crew were issued with a chocolate and sweet ration, known as the nutty bag. Sadly, my family have now applied this title to me.”

Kate Fleming writes that “Lucy and I […] were on the wild side; Lucy was a tomboy and was always at the top of a tree or racing about on a pony. I was very shy and shot upstairs whenever anyone visited the house. Neither of us would put on a dress if we could possibly help it. Our manners left a lot to be desired.” Moreover their childhood home, “Merrimoles”, was intentionally overrun by many unorthodox pets: labradors, a poodle, a cat, ponies, at least one horse, owls, a dormouse, two fox cubs, a raven and a grey squirrel named “Nutto”.

Peter Fleming once wrote in his diary: “Woken early by the patter of tiny feet. Yaks, if stampeded, would make more noise, but not much more noise, than Kate (three) and Lucy (two), who constitute a knockabout turn known as the Reveille Girls.” [He goes on to say about his dogs, “Wonder what Pavlov would have made of Toby and Trigger, who never budge from the bed in my dressing-room until I start brushing my hair. Have tried going downstairs without brushing my hair. Sticklers for protocol, they stayed where they were.” He also left his family the following arrangements for his own funeral: “If there is a memorial service, I would like it to be at the Guards Chapel; the parking facilities are unrivalled.” His final instruction was, “No mourning.”] Both girls were sent off to Cranborne Chase school in Dorset (Kate in 1959, Lucy in 1960), and afterwards Peter Fleming remarked that “the patter of your tiny feet is sadly missed.”

Lucy Fleming: Born 5/15/1947

Geoffrey Boothroyd

Geoffrey Boothroyd, the real life model for “Q”, died October 20, 2001, following a short illness.

Boothroyd was a world-renowned gun expert who wrote hundreds of articles for gun magazines, including several specifically about James Bond’s guns. He first wrote to Ian Fleming in the mid-fifties to complain about the type of
gun that Bond used. According to Boothroyd, the Beretta (used by Bond in the first five novels) was more of a ladies’ gun, and not a very nice lady at that!

At Boothroyd’s suggestion, Fleming equipped Bond with the Walther PPK which has now become virtually synonymous with Bond. Fleming subsequently named his armourer Major Boothroyd of Q section, though the films have always referred to the character simply as Q (except for “The Spy Who Loved Me”, in which Anya addresses Q as Major Boothroyd).

The actual Walther PPK which Boothroyd loaned to Fleming, along with his highly modified Smith & Wesson revolver which appears on the first edition dust jacket of From Russia, With Love, were auctioned by Christie’s in September 1998, and are now the property of Ian Fleming Foundation member Brad Frank, who had corresponded with Boothroyd several times since the sale.

Boothroyd’s daughter Susan, who worked with her father over the last ten years, will be launching a new firearms research web page on March 25. The address is:

007 debut gets Gaelic translation

One of Britain’s best-loved spy stories has been translated into Manx.

Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale – which introduced the world to James Bond – is now available in Gaelg paperback.

Culture Vannin was given a ‘licence to print’ the 1953 book by the deceased author’s estate, and translation was lovingly undertaken by Bob Carswell.

The book is available at Culture Vannin’s headquarters in St John’s.

It’s one of a number of modern works spun in Manx – as Culture Vannin’s Language Development Officer Adran Cain explains: ‘Manx literature goes back a very long way, certainly in translation form – the Bible in the eighteenth century, which was a great achievement culturally, I think. It’s about changing people’s perceptions – stuff like The Gruffalo, Casino Royale, Murder on the Orient Express – that’s slightly more sexy stuff than a lot of Manx iiterature in the past, which has been religious. It’s good to have that sort of context – it changes perceptions.’


Ta’n ennym orrym Bond…

Nane jeh skeealyn-speeikear smoo ennoil y Vretyn Vooar, t’eh er ny hyndaa gys Gaelg.

‘Casino Royale’ Ian Fleming – hug James Bond da’n teihll – t’eh ry-gheddyn nish ayns coodagh-pabyrey Gaelg.

Va kied er ny chur da Culture Vannin y lioar veih nuy cheead jeig, tree-jeig as daeed y chlou. Ghow Bob Carswell ayns laue dy chur y lioar gys Gaelg dy graihagh.

Ta’n lioar ry-gheddyn ec ard-offish Chulture Vannin ayns Balley Keeill Eoin.

She fer ass paart dy lioaryn jeianagh ayns Gaelg t’ayn – myr ta Adrian Cain, Offishear-Lhiasee Chulture Vannin, sollshaghey magh: ‘Ta lettyraght Ghaelgagh goll er-ash ayns traa feer foddey, son shickyrys stoo bentyn da Baarle çhyndait gys Gaelg – y Vible sy hoghtoo eash jeig, va ny chooilleeney yindyssagh dy cultooroil, er lhiam. T’eh bentyn da caghlaa eieiyn sleih – stoo gollrish Yn Gruffalo, Casino Royale, Dunverys ayns Express y Niar – shen beggan ny smoo seksee na ram lettyraght Ghaelgagh ymmodee blein er dy henney, va dy bollagh crauee. S’mie yn red eh dy vel y sorçh shen dy chonteks ayn, t’eh caghlaa eieyn.’

Bond Collectible Going Out Of Print

Due to a licensing difficulty, the “Cheapass Games” intriguing offer, “Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond” is going out of print at the end of August, after which the item may no longer be sold or offered at the Cheapass website.

The game places you as James Bond, trying to stall a villain from murdering you by gettting him to talk and boast about his plan!

Games are available to purchase at:

Cheapass Games.


In other collectibles news, one of the two Octopussy Bede Jets was auctioned off by Maud Adams and Bianca Jagger last week on an American Movie Classics Live Auction but failed to meet its $200,000 reserve, despite Jagger’s encouragement that the lucky winner could easily fit the 300 m.p.h. jet in their garage.

Fleming’s Real Life Spy’s Passport

LONDON (Reuters) – A passport that James Bond creator Ian Fleming used in a real-life wartime spy mission fetched $24,850 at auction Thursday, more than five times the estimate, Sotheby`s said.

Fleming used the passport during a secret World War II operation, code named “Goldeneye,“ to ensure that communications between London and Gibraltar would remain open if Spain had taken Germany`s side. Fleming`s role was to set up the “Goldeneye“ office in the British colony at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea and persuade the United States to collaborate in the mission.

The passport — stamped “Valid for a journey to Gibraltar and return“ on Feb. 16, 1941– had been expected to fetch between $3,000-$4,800, Sotheby`s said. Fleming, whose novels about the suave, fictitious secret agent inspired the blockbuster film series, named his house in Jamaica “Goldeneye“ — also the title of a 1995 Bond screen adventure starring Pierce Brosnan as agent 007.

Collecting the Asian World of James Bond

In Roger Somchai ’s own words for 007Forever (Roger is a super-collector of Asian Bond goodies):

“About myself, I was a 007 fan since I was a child, I love 007’s artwork first, then music, then movies. My favorite Bond is Roger Moore and “Spy” is my favorite film. In fact, I enjoy nonstop big scenes, new devices and exciting stunning locales more than the story, so “You Only Live Twice” and “Moonraker” are also my Bonds to love. In my homepage, every item is for sale, but I myself have many, not for sale items…maybe 1,000 items? They represent my collection since I was a child and sites like 007Forever, Lee Pfeiffer’s site, and auctions online also help me plenty.

Because I am a TV station’s supervisor and run work for a local “infotainment” program, I always have chance to know more, see more and even get more…last year when Pierce Brosnan came to Hong Kong for the Tomorrow Never Dies movie I got the chance to interview with him face to face, but I did not have courage to take pics with him! What a pity!! In fact, he had come here twice and I met him twice and lost my chances twice too! [Not good, because You Only Film Twice–Editors]

I have “good connections” in Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong so I can get official stuff so very easily for the fans of 007Forever.

In my personal collection, my favorite piece is a 007-logo shaped radio, I got it two years before now when I went to New York and visited the home of SpyGuise [Lee Pfeiffer’s shop]. The clock was made in Hong Kong and came from the early 1970’s, very Roger Moore, I love it very much! In fact, I have spent so much money in my collection, that online purchases are every night’s job…help me, I can’t stop it! I hope that my so-called Bond business can make me some money back…not profit, at least not to lose too much, anyway! Last year when I went to Japan, I bought some rare Bond items.

I got an old OHMSS poster, original “From Russia” program sheet and a nice Thunderball model, the prices were really very high and at that time I thought that the other Bond fans will be interested with them…but now the fact is that no one would like to buy them so finally they became part of my own collection. Poor me, right?

About the Bond Collectors’ Weekend in New Orleans, I will not be visiting, probably, because it’s a little too far from Hong Kong. Come here instead! [Maybe we will for BCW 2001–Editors]

I, myself, besides Bond, am also a collector of camouflage gear, I collect every possible item of camouflage color, and would like to be a camouflage man or secret agent.

I look forward to trading items with the 007Forever Bond fans. Write soon!
Yours, Roger”

You may write Roger Somchai and see his pages at Asian Bond Collectibles.

Collecting Great Spies With Danny Biederman

Danny Biederman is a screenwriter, author, and consultant specializing in movie and TV spy fiction. His credits include scripts for NBC and ABC TV shows, including the MGM spy series Gavilan starring Robert Urich, and The Avengers: The Journey Back hosted by Patrick Macnee. He produced and directed the documentary A Spy For All Seasons featuring Sean Connery and developed scripts for Paramount’s The Renegades, and the children’s series
Bugzburg and James Bond, Jr.

Biederman has worked extensively for MGM Studios as a special consultant on the James Bond property, providing expert advice on all aspects of the world’s most famous fictional spy. He is the author of EMI’s The Best of Bond…James Bond, an internationally marketed CD booklet covering the entire history of the 007 film series. Danny has been published in dozens of international magazines and best-selling books. He has written about the spy genre for such publications as Playboy, the Los Angeles Times, P.O.V., and Emmy. He has also consulted on the world of pop spies for American Movie Classics, Landmark Theaters, American Cinematheque, Taft Entertainment, MGM, and veteran producer Sam Rolfe.

Biederman lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Bea, and their children Illya, Moriah Flint, and Bond-all named for fictional spies.

–Watch for our soon upcoming interview with Danny Biederman at 007Forever. Danny’s collection has recently made trips to top spy shows and a special, private showing inside CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia!

Totally Banned

Canadian Bond fans who have been hunting high and low for the Special Collector`s Edition of TV Guide, with the cover story of “Totally Bond”, need not bother; TV Guide is not distributing the edition outside of the United States at this time, nor is it translating it into it`s Spanish editions. Instead, TVGuide Live is offering Canadian readers a cover story on Lisa Kudrow, star of “Friends, where she talks about her role as Phoebe Buffet.

What non-U.S. Bond fans won`t get a chance to read is Raymond Benson`s exclusive short story “Live at Five”, set in a Chicago television station and of course, featuring James Bond. Also, as mentioned here exclusively several weeks ago, the Special Edition also features a Bond Girls Reunion, with several Bond Girls from past films getting together for a photo shoot and reminiscing over old times.

The lead story on Brosnan can be found at TV Guide, entitled “Bond and Beyond”. It doesn`t contain much in the way of news that long time Bond fans would find interesting, but it at least will give you a taste of what you`re missing. Also at TV Guide and TV Guide Live you can order back issues, special issues (presumably this one) and send your unhappy email about this situation to the distribution and marketing department.

The Property of a Gentleman

A first edition copy of Casino Royale has been auctioned off for 11,400 Pounds; a staggering amount believed to be a record for an Ian Fleming book.

Christiaan Jonkers, of the Henley-on-Thames firm, told The Times: “We specialise in Fleming first editions and we think this is a record for an auction. It really is in immaculate condition.”

Bidding for the 1953 spy thriller was fiercer than a Faberge egg at Sothebys. Only 4,700 first edition copies had been printed. An estimated 5,000 pounds was placed on the novel by the auctioneers Dominic Winter, of Swindon, Wiltshire. But the antiquarian book dealers Bromlea and Jonkers, fending off 12 rival bidders, were happy to more than double that.

The Bond Women: OO7 Style

Tim Greaves’ long-awaited Bond tome is now available with illustrations provided by French artist Stephane Tron. Here are the juicy details:

So, you think you know everything there is to know about James Bond’s women? Think again.

Were you aware, for example, that…

Dolly, Jaws’ diminutive girlfriend in Moonraker, was originally intended to have been 7 feet 4 inches tall
The bikini worn by Honey in Dr. No—and auctioned recently for over £40,000—was rustled up for the film by Ursula Andress and one of her girlfriends
The actress frequently credited as Bambi in Diamonds Are Forever wasn’t actually the girl who played the part
The heroine of Tomorrow Never Dies almost ended up named Sidney Winch
These are but a mere (OO)7 facts plucked from the cornucopia of fascinating data inside this, the ultimate reference guide to the women of the James Bond films. Representing everything you always wanted to know about the James Bond girls—and no longer need to ask! —If it isn’t inside “The Bond Women: OO7 Style” it isn’t worth knowing!

With 2002 being the 40th anniversary of the year that pre-production began on the first James Bond film, DR. NO, it is remarkable to note that interest in the longest running series in film history has never been greater. Interest in James Bond’s lovely female acquaintances perhaps even more so!

“The Bond Women” comprises a unique assembly of biographies, narrative detail, trivia, filmographies and interview material (much of it exclusive, hosted by Tim Greaves for this book). Among many other exciting revelations, it identifies at last many previously unknown players. It also boasts many hitherto unrevealed or long-forgotten facts about the ‘James Bond Girls’—both the actresses who played them and the characters they have portrayed—garnered from interview material and unprecedented access to original press releases, newspaper reports, and numerous drafts of original scripts and on-set call sheets.

Among the many actresses interviewed in “The Bond Women” are world renowned Golden Girl Shirley Eaton (GOLDFINGER), cult movie queen Caroline Munro (THE SPY WHO LOVED ME), athletic “Baywatch” beauty Kristina Wayborn (OCTOPUSSY), champion ice skater Lynn-Holly Johnson (FOR YOUR EYES ONLY) and the actress whose interracial love scenes with OO7 caused a major controversy, former “Playboy” model Gloria Hendry (LIVE AND LET DIE)… to name but a few!

In total more than 250 actresses and models are unveiled in the extensive text, from the lead players to the bit-parters, from the girls who ended up on the cutting room floor to the characters that never got any further than the pages of a script!

“The Bond Women” is being published privately as a limited edition by author Tim Greaves during March/April 2002. Tim is now taking orders at The Bond Women.

Tell your friends. Tell your friends’ friends. But whatever you do don’t miss out yourself!


Size: 210mm x 297mm Pages: 116 Softcover Price: £10.95

Postage/PackingRates Per Copy: UK: 1st Class £1.75 2nd Class £1.50 Europe: Air £2.60 Surface £2.20 Rest of the World: Air £4.50 Surface £2.20

Please note that “The Bond Women” contains no photographs. It will, however, include a number of original illustrations by French artist Stephane Tron. The first pressing of “The Bond Women” will be in limited quantity.

Secret World of 007 Announced

DK Books has set a release date of October 2000 for their new hardcover title, James Bond The Secret World of 007.

Though designed for young and adolescent readers, this title produced in cooperation with EON Productions is chock filled with insight accompanying film stills and newly rendered artist visions of the Bonds, as the graphic accompanying this story reveals.

According to DK, “James Bond has become a cultural icon outlasting his cold war roots.” This book contains “…details on all major characters, vehicles and high-tech gadgets, the lovers, allies, and enemies of the world`s most elegant secret agent.”

New Non-Bond Benson Book Available

PRESS RELEASE – January 5, 2001, Seattle, WA, USA

PublishingOnline, a leading international distributor and publisher of eBooks, announced today that the first installment of Evil Hours, a 14-part serial novel by Raymond Benson, the acclaimed author of original James Bond titles and film novelizations, is now available for free digital download on its new, state-of-the art Web site.

“We are extremely excited to be the exclusive representative of this new work by Raymond Benson, and we are very proud to have Evil Hours help us to showcase what we believe will fast become the Internet`s standard-setting eBook Web site, ” said Min Yee, Publisher of PublishingOnline.

“Mr. Benson has long been one of PublishingOnline`s best-selling authors, and the tens of thousands of James Bond readers are testament to his unique ability to draw readers into his thrilling world of action and suspense,” Min Yee added.

Evil Hours follows the tracks of Shannon Reece as she tries to uncover the truth surrounding her mother`s brutal murder 26 years earlier in the small, working class town of Limite, Texas. Although the alleged murderer was convicted, imprisoned and subsequently killed by fellow inmates, the case has long troubled Reece, and with the help of a private eye unravels a hidden trail of deceit that ultimately leads to the most unsuspecting of places in the novel`s haunting conclusion.

In an exclusive interview with PublishingOnline, also available on the new site, Benson said that his latest work, which is “Larry McMurtry meets David Lynch,” was written in the down time between the second and third of his four original 007-novels.

Each of the 14 episodes will be made available free to PublishingOnline members in PDF format, or one dollar per episode for non-members, on each Friday through March 16. Membership with PublishingOnline is free.

About Raymond Benson

Raymond Benson`s first 007 foray, a short story in Playboy magazine, was published in 1997, and since then, following in the footsteps of previous Bond authors John Gardner and Kingsley Amis, he has written four original Bond novels, with a fifth one due in June, 2001, and two 007-film novelizations. He is also the author of PublishingOnline`s bestselling The James Bond Bedside Companion, the ultimate authoritative book on James Bond facts and ephemera. The Kirkus Reviews has called Benson`s writing in his novel The Facts of Death “a postmodern treat for fans and newcomers…” and the Boston Sunday Herald called the writing in his most recent work “as irresistible as ever.”

About PublishingOnline

PublishingOnline is a leading distributor and publisher of digital books. With eBooks offered off its Web site in the world`s eight most populous; with an Affiliated Publisher Program comprising dozens of publishers; with the rights to hundreds of exclusive works; and with a growing collection of out-of-print and rare, award-winning titles, PublishingOnline is aggressively building the largest online library in the world.

Membership with PublishingOnline is free and entitles readers to many benefits including free downloads of literary masterpieces, exclusive offers and e-mail alerts. PublishingOnline`s new Web site utilizes the latest in eCommerce and search technology and can be accessed at

Get Into Bed With Bond. James Bond.

Seattle announced today that it has entered into an exclusive publishing agreement with Raymond Benson, best known as the current author of the James Bond 007 novels. Mr. Benson was commissioned by Ian Fleming (Glidrose) Publications Ltd. in 1996 to continue the best-selling series after Fleming, Kingsley Amis, and John Gardner.

Of particular interest to James Bond fans is the electronic publication of Benson`s landmark encyclopedic work, The James Bond Bedside Companion, long considered to be the best non-fiction study of the 007 phenomenon. Originally published in 1984, it was nominated for an EdgarAllan Poe Award (Mystery Writers of America) for Best Biographical/Critical Work of that year.

The Bedside Companion is often cited to be the “Bible of Bond,” as it contains a history of the rise in Bond`s popularity, a in-depth biography of Ian Fleming, and illuminating analyses of the novels and films up to that point in time. Out of print since 1990, The James Bond Bedside Companion will now be available again to fans around the world. has also entered into an exclusive agreement with Benson to publish his first non-Bond novel, Evil Hours, a “serial” in fourteen episodes. Benson describes Evil Hours as a “drama that takes place in a fictional small West Texas town and is a cross between Larry McMurtry and David Lynch.” The story concerns a young woman`s quest for the truth about her mother`s murder, which occurred over 25 years earlier.

Evil Hours will appear in weekly installments on, free to readers for a limited time, after which it will be offered for sale in its entirety along with POL`s other titles. The first episode of Evil Hours will make its online debut on April 25th at 7am est.

Two of Benson`s original short stories, The Plagiarist and Thumbs Down, will also be published on the POL Web site. Benson describes these tales, written in the mid-eighties, as “Twilight Zone”-style fantasies dealing with the plight of frustrated writers. digitizes in-print, mid-list, backlist and out of print titles as well as front list selections and makes them available for sale electronically on the Internet. will make many titles available for purchase in a variety of formats—Windows, Windows CE, Palm Pilot, SoftBook, Apple. E-books, essays, articles and poetry can be downloaded for prices ranging from $5.00 to $50.00. carries titles from all types of trade publishers and individual authors. The Web site is located at For additional information call (206) 439-9257 or contact the company via

Doubleshot’s Gala Debut

DOUBLESHOT will rocket into bookstores within a matter of weeks (May 2000 in the U.K.; June 2000 in the U.S.) and before writer Raymond Benson takes off to Europe for a publicity tour, he graciously dropped by and chatted with friends and new fans Monday night, even revealing a suprise or two.

DOUBLSHOT will be excerpted in the June issue of Playboy Magazine which goes on sale the first week in May. Apparently they had a particular interest in this story and you U.K. readers who have already gotten your hands on the novel will understand what we are talking about (but we won`t give away the surprise!)Benson also confirmed to our intimate chat group that he`ll be researching locations in France next month for his follow-up to DOUBLESHOT, and Corsica will play a part in the book as well. The tentative title for his next novel, to be published in Summer 2001 is: NEVER DREAM OF DYING.

NDOD is Benson`s own idea, and so far the editors have had no objections. Also revealed were the original, working titles for DOUBLESHOT: “Doppleganger” and “Reflections In A Broken Glass”. See what kind of fascinating information you can learn in a celebrity chat? Our sincere thanks again to Raymond, for his patience and time, and a special thanks to our chat group members who came well prepared, well read, and quite enthusiastic! We will post the full transcript of the chat session later in the week!

Collecting the Books of James Bond

I welcome you, dear reader, to Forever’s 005: For Your Collection Only, a compendium of tips, tricks and fun history from 007`s world. We`re going in-depth on the collecting questions we`ve had to field over years and years–come along for the ride each time–I guarantee you will learn something new if you are an old hand!

This first installment deals with books, a subject big enough to warrant much more explanation than is given here. We will return to books soon again soon for the Corner, I guarantee it. Meanwhile, whether you collect Mr. Bond`s books, posters, toys, autographs, clothing or whatever, you will find plenty of hot tips within each section each time to add your collecting knowledge. The staff of Forever is looking for your Q and A also for forthcoming work. We will be drawing on more than one hundred years` in total collecting experience from the 007Forever staff and help from experts around the world in their collecting fields…watch this space also for our forthcoming stories on super collectors from around the world! On to the Books: Part I!

Why collect the Bonds as books besides their fantastic investment value? The Bonds tend to have among the best jacket art and spine designs anywhere! They will look great on your shelf next to your star autographs and Corgi toys.

The earlier books have increased value dramatically for a number of reasons, certainly sentimentality for baby boomers, their scarcity and lovely cover art–the entire publishing industry moved long ago from artist rendered, hand illustrated covers to cheap cut and paste art and computer graphics imagery. Today, a quality artist can earn $2,000 – $3,000 for painting a single jacket cover! Again, early books have snob appeal today, and Bond is on the cutting edge of the modern firsts that have increased in value thirty-fold in recent years.

To sound hip in Bondly book collecting is to have you go to your local book dealer, walk up to his counter, and ask if he has any Bondiana (pronounced Bond-ee-anna, like “Indiana” Jones) for sale. The word Bondiana doesn`t just sound cool, it tips the seller that you are seeking Bond items not limited to Mr. Fleming`s books but Gardner novels, magazine articles on Bond, whatever. We collectors are “Bondians” who collect Bondiana. Ian Fleming fans can try the mouthful, “Flemingiana,” for a double-point bonus from Collectors` Corner. With the exploding market, I have seen tight-lipped dealers who said ten years ago, “Collect Ian Fleming pulp! Perish the thought!” respond lately with, “James Bond? I was so stupid years ago, I could have had a copy of…”.

Collecting James Bond in the literary form has been an enduring and satisfying hobby for nearly fifty years, and the Fleming titles are the most popular modern firsts collected today. The first rule of Bond book collecting is–we can ignore the first rule of typical Bond collecting! For 007`s items, often, but not always, the “rule of 60” applies—that is, until recently, the rule of 60 said that for toys, posters, books, etc., an item had to date from the early 1960s or before to carry heavy value. Not so with rare books!

“All Mod Bonds”

A prime example of a valuable modern Bond would be John Gardner`s Cold in its British first edition, 1996 from Hodder & Staughton (who purchased the publishing house and selections of Jonathan Cape). Cold, or Cold Fall, as it is titled in the US, is fetching an astounding $700 right now (quite a markup from its 17-pound cover price!) and illustrates three facets that make Bond bookies go wild:

1) The first Cold is British and so it is the very first appearance of this title in book form
2) The printing run was limited to 900 copies, so it is a scarce title
3) The dustjacket is hot stuff!

Now, we Anglophiles love the British Bonds with their usually gorgeous dustjackets, for the jacket is king in collecting 007. Titles without a jacket plunge in price, which is logical, if you sell me a “naked” book title I can hunt down the jacket—but who has empty dustjackets to sell me to clothe my book? A first American valued at $350 might have trouble getting a bid of $10 at auction without a jacket cover.

Hint: Looking for British titles? Find friends across the pond searching for titles from the States–we have trouble finding British Pans and Capes in US stores and our friends in Europe have trouble collecting American firsts at their shops.

Have you ever realized that Bond book collectors have a wider playing field that blows away the exploding field of Star Trek or even Star Wars book collecting? One catch line I have used for media interviews, which they always keep from me as a sound bite, is “Collecting James Bond is like collecting memorabilia from 20 Star Wars movies–there is just so much out there!” Bond books are no exception. Consider a typical title–let us call this exercise “The Many Faces of Dr. No”:

There was the beautiful and valued J. Cape first with its unusual Pat Marriott dustjacket; the first American hardback edition with Dr. No spying on a drugged and sleeping Bond, from Macmillan; two early Pans with slightly different painted covers by Peff, followed by a Pan with a spider web on its blue cover, a Pan with a stylized montage including Bond`s weapons, memories of Honey Rider, and Guerlain`s soap; a Pan with a bikinied Rider grasping her dagger; then a film version Pan (!); Signet paperbacks with two different covers; two more Macmillan editions, a “James Bond Mystery” with Walther and holster and an American book club edition; the Jove edition; a Berkley book with Bond in silhouette; the Coronet General book from Canada, also with silhouette and with the forward by Anthony Burgess; the Coronet from `93 with spider; the James Bond Classic Library with Bond and friend, Dr. No`s giant squid; the Triad Granada/Triad Panther with gal upon a (Exceptionally large weapon, you have there, Mr. Bond!) gun; large print editions sent to libraries from Chivers and New Portway and more–get the picture?

That list above does not include the sought after Mariott Cape variant without a Honey Rider silhouette stamped on its cover, multiple editions with the same layouts such as the British book club edition which also carries the Mariott artwork or Pans with the “purple band,” “yellow pan” or “Great Pan” stampings, etc., etc., etc.! Super collectors, no doubt with super wallets attached, have gone in sometimes for getting every printing of a particular title, such as grabbing all 23 printings of a Signet reprinted 22 times–ouch! I also have not yet mentioned privately leather bound and faux-leather bound editions or foreign books printed in more than a dozen languages with multiple artwork covers!

Hint: The incredible gaggle of Bond books, which far outnumber Q`s gadgets, leads to my next book collecting tip–have fun but specialize!

Examples of specialization that`s fun? Pick a set of books by publisher and go for them all, say, all the Fleming titles in Signet/New American Library. You would need the set of 14 Signets seen commonly at online auctions, plus the first printings only of the first eight Fleming titles, skipping Diamonds Are Forever, with their lovely painted covers: Casino Royale with a monocled Le Chiffre, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, From Russia With Love with its vivid art, (FRWL and CR are the toughest to find in good condition) Dr. No, Goldfinger and For Your Eyes Only.

Maybe for an encore, you look for the Signet box (of several different kinds with 12 or 13 of the 14 in the set bundled in boxes for Signet promotions) and you also buy the late reprints of the last four which came in two different covers each in the 1980s–On Her Majesty`s Secret Service, You Only Live Twice, The Man With The Golden Gun and Octopussy or eight more books. Your Signets shelf is growing now so you grab Signet`s Thrilling Cities so you can read “James Bond in New York,” not printed in British editions, and O.F. Snelling`s classic 007 James Bond: A Report and of course you must aso have Kingsley Amis` The James Bond Dossier since you enjoyed his Colonel Sun, written under the pseudonym Robert Markham, so much! By now, you are a Signet “completist” or someone who seeks to find each and every of a set, so you search diligently for the Signet movie tie-in editions to Live and Let Die, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and curiously, Casino Royale, which looks remarkably like the poster art for the Bond spoof bearing its name!

Top off your goods with the late 80s risque cover reprints of Octopussy and The Man With The Golden Gun. Your wallet now considerably lighter, you praise God that Berkley/Coronet and not Signet printed the Gardner Bond novels, saving you 16 more purchases on top of your 40 new softcovers. Your Signet paperback shelf has forty different covers, is finished and to die for!

“More Specialties, Please”

Another specializing collector is the kind who highlights a favorite Bond, such as Connery, and scoops up the many titles foreign and domestic that bear his likeness, especially the French Plons, German Scherz/TOSA, rare Japanese paperbacks, and Belgium and Dutch titles here and there, and of course, English-language movie tie-ins of the 1960s, plus Diamonds Are Forever.

Even narrowing further are super specialists like Ben Miller and Craig Marciniak, specialists in a single book or film title. Ben has lived and worked in Japan on and off for more than a decade and is a top You Only Live Twice specialist, while Craig Marciniak joins the knowledgeable Steve Kulakoski and Charles Helfenstein as leading experts in all things On Her Majesty`s Secret Service. These hyper-specialists spend years researching furniture, decorations and cinematography glimpsed in a film, plus of course, its numerous book title appearances, toys, magazine articles, posters, autographs, stills and more. Craig`s online domain at specializes in the ultimate nitty-gritty for OHMSS, and Craig has opened a bottle of wide or two in Europe just to get French and German incidental dialogue translated!

You can specialize in British, American or other foreign titles or in “proof” books, printings issued for a test run before the first edition is a go. Tampa, Florida super-collector Don Kovalik has numerous valuable proofs. Specialize in “Bond only” or in books about the phenomenon or Mr. Fleming himself. A certain “S.K.” has made a mini-hobby out of collecting different Sean Connery biographies. “T.S.” is scooping up ALL the Signets. C.H. has a legendary publication, microfiche and magazine collection. B.F., J.C., J.P. and R.M. among others, (you know who you are!) have all the Fleming Capes as first editions, the heartless cads. (Yes, ALL, including Casino Royale! I could sell one of their sets and pay off my mortgage.) Friends are filling in the gaps on their “firsts collections,” dogging out all the movie firsts, all the painted firsts, all the 70s and 80s firsts. Not specializing and going for everything Bond in books can lead to poverty and sorrow!

Specialize, and stay sentimental. Why buy a book unless there is a story behind it? On the other hand, how about not unless the cover jumps up and bites you with style? I call certain collectors on a budget “differentists,” my word for collectors who pinch a penny by collecting titles only if the dustjacket offers something different from what they have in already. For example, the Macmillan For Your Eyes Only first is quite close to the first British Cape, as a matter of fact, the American has Richard Chopping`s drawing of Bond`s eye at the keyhole, with a few book accents to make the jacket slightly different. With a fine Cape FYEO fetching $750 and a fine Macmillan grabbing $250 – $400, why buy them both if the cover is so close? (By the by, did you know? Fleming had Chopping redo the eye color repeatedly until Chopping had Fleming`s vision of Bond`s clear gray eyes just right. More trivia: Did you know that For Your Eyes Only, was the only glossy dust cover of the Cape Bonds?)

The lovely British Book club editions would be another example for differentists on a budget. Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia With Love and Dr. No have British Book Club jackets identical to the Capes and are skipped often by book club collectors. (In the same vein, GoldenEye`s British book club is identical to the Hodder first and License To Kill looks just like the Charter paperback for the same title.) For different jackets, Live and Let Die, Goldfinger, For Your Eyes Only, Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty`s Secret Service, You Only Live Twice, The Man With The Golden Gun, Colonel Sun and The Life of Ian Fleming all have attractive art. (Look under the jackets of the last two as some ran with a leatherette cover for the boards of the book!) These ten titles would look great on anyone`s shelf. On the other hand, the thought of getting the book clubs with the same covers for $15 – $40 each or one-fiftieth the price of the DAF, FRWL and Dr. No Capes is quite appealing as well!

Make your decisions: Cold has the same cover in hardback and paperback, why get the softcover? Goldfinger has the Chopping jacket in the first American and British, why get them both? (I can hear Sean Connery responding to “You think one book is better, eh?” with “No, just different. Like Peking duck is different than Russian caviar but I love them both.” We`re talking a limited budget here, Sean.)

Hint: Don`t just skip similar jackets. You can also go for later printings with the same look for the costlier titles, like the early Capes. $5,000 for a first Moonraker Cape? No, thanks. Fifty bucks for an sixth printing in top shape with the identical publishing details and jacket? Now we are talking!

Here are the beginning entries to Collectors` Corner`s lists of books for Bondian completists (thanks in advance for sending to us at Fandom your corrections on titles I am unaware of.) Warning! Auctions can play havoc, going up and sometimes down, with the suggested prices I have outlined here!

Collecting James Bond Stories: Heavy Hitters

British Firsts–Jonathan Cape/Hodder & Staughton

The 14 Fleming Bonds most are familiar with also had four cover variants, three of them printed around `83 or so (eighth printings or so)

1) Casino Royale was done with a “Vesper playing card” on a green background–one just sold for $170-plus dollars on auction (yikes!)

2) Cape redid Moonraker with the word “Moonraker” embossed in silver on the jacket

3) Dr. No`s first printing had a variant without the woman standing in the swamp

4) Dr. No had a later Cape printing with the words “Dr. No” in a stamp font on the cover on a paneled background like Signet`s James Bond Dossier

5) A limited signed edition, of course, was available for On Her Majesty`s Secret Service.

For the Capes, Richard Chopping`s name has become famous through his work on the Bonds. Goldfinger and From Russia With Love are considered his greatest triumphs. Mr. Fleming himself devised the cover art or concept for many of his novels.

Some of Ian Fleming`s other work/more Bond was beautifully rendered as highly collectible and valuable Capes; Thrilling Cities with its choice cover art by Davis and The Diamond Smugglers.

Other fantastic Capes include Colonel Sun, The Life of Ian Fleming, the killer-to-find Bond-wannabe The Adventures of 003½, The James Bond Dossier, and Christopher Wood`s movie novelizations of The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker (now fetching amazing prices in fine or good condition).

The first five Gardner Bond novels were done by Cape, and ten more by owner Hodder & Staughton (including the novelization of GoldenEye). License to Kill appeared as a British hardcover in book club form only.) Raymond Benson`s Bond novels Zero Minus Ten, the Facts of Death, High Time to Kill and movie novelizations of Tomorrow Never Dies and the forthcoming The World Is Not Enough were also done by Hodder.

Total: Up to 46 veddy British fine titles any Bondian should be proud to own, costing each between $14,000 for a fine/fine (book is fine condition, dustjacket also) Casino Royale first, to $20 for certain Gardners and Flemings if you keep your eyes peeled.

American First Editions:

Casino Royale through Goldfinger was published under Macmillan–Live and Let Die was published as “A Cock Robin Thriller”. For Your Eyes Only, Thunderball and The Spy Who Loved Me were Viking; On Her Majesty`s Secret Service through Octopussy were New American Library–for all practical purposes we can think of the three publishers as one company with NAL publishing Signet paperbacks.

Pricing runs the gamut between $1,000 – $2,000 for a fine copy of Casino Royale with a bright jacket and $15 – $25 for a copy of Octopussy. Why the wide disparities in Bond book prices? The number printed of each title. Expectations were limited for Casino Royale but tens of thousands of the later novels were run as first editions by Cape and NAL both.

Pan Paperbacks:

Pan Flight One (pun intended): Painted Pan covers by Peff, others; Casino Royale (3 different covers); Live and Let Die (2 covers); Moonraker (3 covers); Diamonds Are Forever (2 covers); From Russia With Love (2 covers); Dr. No (2 covers); Goldfinger (Fleming look-alike on cover); For Your Eyes Only (“Pericolo de Morte” sign)

Also notable as painted Pans:

The Diamond Smugglers (2 different covers)

Another set was of 14 covers with matching design elements: From Russia With Love (Fabergé egg), Goldfinger (Rolls Royce cover), etc. A variant Casino Royale has Le Chiffre`s check double printed on it.

There are Pan “Montage covers” for all 14 Flemings? I have seen copies of 12, and a 13th Fleming title has been documented. I am unaware of a still life cover for Live and Let Die.

“Heroines in action poses”: All 14 except LALD, OHMMS and YOLT Thunderball and Ohmms have a “girl and gun” Pan made.

Film tie-ins: Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia With Love, Dr. No, Goldfinger, Thunderball, On Her Majesty`s Secret Service, You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun all have film tie-ins Pans attached.

Other notable Pans: The Life of Ian Fleming (same cover as J. Cape 1st), Roger Moore as James Bond (account of filming LALD), James Bond, The Authorized Biography by John Pearson, The Book of Bond, The James Bond Dossier and Thrilling Cities (printed as parts 1 and 2, with covers that make one cohesive picture laid side by side).

Prices: Painted covers run from $15 – $20 for a fine copy of the later titles to $75 and up for the 1st printings of Casino Royale or Moonraker, certainly two of the toughest Bond paperbacks.

All other Pans can be had for $5 to $15 each, with the exception of relatively scarce titles such as Thrilling Cities or paperbacks in extra fine condition.

First American Paperbacks:

Casino Royale was introduced to American paperback readers as a pulp thriller under the alternate title of You Asked For It, replete with Jimmy Bond pouring a stiff one while vamp Vesper shares his room. Live and Let Die and Diamonds Are Forever, plus Moonraker as “Too Hot To Handle” were other early softcovers eagerly sought for their pulp art.

You Asked For It and Moonraker are rightfully valued as $350 books, which seem to fetch considerably less at auction, however. Live and Let Die and Moonraker used to sell for $50 and $75 at Bond fan gatherings, and they may be gleaned at auction for $25 or even less at times.

Signet Paperbacks: (See complete list above).

Enough for now, gang. Time will fail me if I tell of the proof titles, John Gardner books, Coronets, Berkleys and Joves, Taiwanese piracies and heavy Bond hitters like Holmes meets 007 (less than 300 copies worldwide, Ian Fleming`s The State of Excitement (three copies worldwide) Ian and I (one copy on earth). Even a first printing of Raymond Benson`s James Bond Bedside Companion is grabbing $200! Plus, I will have more tips for you on everything books from condition and price clipping to scooping up bargains. The Collectors` Corner will return to books, eventually. On the other hand, maybe I should write that collecting book already.

Next time will be “Collecting the BackBurner Productions of Bond”. Watch this section of 007Forever for more collecting fun on the way!

Written with grateful acknowledgment to the many collectors who have helped me pave the Bond book way, especially Steve Kulakoski of For Your Eyes Only Books, and Bryan Krofchok and Russell MacKenzie of The Bond Index.

–Matt Sherman is Co-Editor of 007Forever, which means he might have to scan in all his rare James Bond books and then throw them away permanently.

Bonding in France

Raymond Benson`s next book, following Doubleshot, will be set in France.

According to to the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, Feb 14, 2000 in an article by Mary A. Gruner (Daily Herald Correspondent): “At present, Benson is working on a new book, for which he will soon be researching in France. Although he has traveled to Hong Kong, China, England, and many other countries, he confesses that his research forays are intensive and exhausting.”

Bondiana With Mysterious Books

The Mysterious Bookshop, located in Manhattan, is one of the world’s original mystery specialty stores. The bookshop, which specializes in James Bond collectibles, is owned by Otto Penzler, author of the popular monograph, Collecting Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Among their long line of publishing the best of mystery and espionage works, Penzler’s Mysterious Books published the three limited editions of License To Kill most sought-after by collectors, two of which are fetching $1,000 today. (LTK was also publishewd in hardback by a British Book Club–editor.)

Mysterious Search is the search service for The Mysterious Bookshop, and it is located in Atlanta. The search service is staffed by fulltime professionals, who have invested years in developing a network to allow them to locate rare items for dedicated collectors.

The search is conducted at no charge to collectors. When a request is submitted, the item is meticulously researched. Once the item has been found, the searcher re-contacts the customer with a description and price. The collector can, at that time, make a decision on whether or not to buy the desired title. The search service then purchases the book or item for the collector, receives it and checks its condition, professionally re-packs it and ships by Priority Mail or UPS to the customer. The purchaser’s credit card is charged at that time.

Betty Breckenridge is the James Bond specialist and a member of the search service for the bookshop. The advantage the search service offers is that you, the collector, are not limited to what the store has in stock at any given time. If they don’t have a title you want, Bettycan look far and wide for it, on your behalf. Betty performs this service at no charge to you.

Here is a typcial Mysterious book listing. There prices are in the mid-range of what is being offered by dealers worldwide. If you want detail on descriptions, or you’d like Betty to search for items in greater or lesser condition, you only need to ask:

Betty Breckenridge
The Mysterious Bookshop, NY
877.30.BOOKS, toll-free
404.321.9849, fax

Mr. Boer, Meet Mr. Brosnan

…”My name is Boer…James Boer.” I’m Dutch, and my middle name is Jacobus (“James”). I’ve handed Pierce Brosnan the story excerpted here . . . Think my biggest hero is James Bond? It’s the Lord Jesus Christ!

Before you leave this BondFanEvents page thinking I’m a Jesus freak, I encourage you to read a bit longer! Or as Q says, “Now pay attention, 007!” The reason I love Christ above our friend James is that Christ paid for my sin!

The Bible says all of us are sinners, breaking God’s law in actions, words and thoughts. Even 007, though sarcastic, agrees with this in For Your Eyes Only, saying to Q, “Forgive me father, for I have sinned.” Our sin and guilt separate us from God. To go to heaven, however, we must be perfect. We can never go to heaven on our merits.

God loves us, though, and wants us to be with Him in heaven eternally. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to take our sin. Christ went to the cross and paid for sin there, taking punishment we deserve. After, He rose from the dead proving He had paid for sin. All He asks us to do in response is to place our trust in what He has done, not trusting our merits to get to heaven but what He did. The Bible says that:

“…God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever trusts in Him, will not perish, but have eternal life.”

It’s simple, God loves me, but I have sinned. Jesus paid for my sin and if I trust Him, I am assured of heaven! I know for certain I have eternal life and my sin is forgiven! I have a purpose to live for, to tell others what Christ did for me! “It’s a new world…with new dangers…but you can still depend on one man…Jesus Christ!”

—Kees Boer has been with’s Bond Weekends since they were a fevered dream of a few crazy folk.

Collecting the Autographs of James Bond

With Alex Brauchle

Matt: How did you start collecting Bond autographs?

Alexander: The first Bond autograph I received about 13 years ago; a wonderful Roger Moore piece signed for a friend at a German television station. After this, I began to pursue all the Bonds for signings; after I had them all, as do most Bond hunters nowadays, I started to collect the girls’ inscribed stuff. Later, villains and behind the scenes people were also followed by exciting Bond related documents and movie props used on screen!

Matt: Just how many autographed items from the world of James Bond do you own now?

Alex: Would you believe it? Nearly 4,000 items!

Matt: 4,000 of them! Your very favorite item which you own? Is there such a thing?

Alex: An 8″ x 10″ original movie still signed by Adolfo Celi, [“Emilio Largo” in “Thunderball”] the king of all 007 autographs and the rarest! But, it is hard to say for certain as I have many other very rare and wonderful pieces, like authentic Sean Connery signings. 90% of Connery “signings” are clever forgeries! I love my Harold Sakata and Goldfinger cast signed pieces, with up to a dozen signatures on one still (!) and everyone loves the movie props; some major pieces like Drax’s girl’s miniskirts from Moonraker; “real” gold bars from Goldfinger; a one–meter long life boat from Tomorrow Never Dies’ Devonshire ship model used in the film; Valentin Zukovsky’s caviar jar from the recent “World Is Not Enough” and much more…you see it is hard to say what is my favorite piece…[smiles].

Matt: Any exciting “war stories” for our readers on how you earned a special collectible or perhaps funny stories on how a rare collectibles got away from your grasp?

Alex: Always interesting is the “great auction war,” for example the battle royal at Christie’s auction house last year. [Note: Proxy bidders from around the world stormed this exciting auction online and through intermediaries.] A nice, charming story was with Pierce Brosnan when he filmed in Hamburg, Germany the TND film. I was there to meet with him in his spare time between filming shots. Pierce is a gracious and courteous star, who signed all items for all comers. For me he signed on the back of a police officers shirt to have something to lean upon! At that time, I met with a lot of Bond girls and Desmond Llewelyn who will be sorely missed, Gotz Otto who played “Stamper” and many others.

Matt: Do you have any tips for aspiring bond autograph collectors?

Alex: Research all the information you can on any signed piece before you buy. Examine the genuine article yourself before you buy anything. The very best is to ask several dealers or collectors what they think about a particular autographed item. I am also willing to help in this field always, we can put the power together to run unscrupulous dealers out of the Bond business! I also have a private black list of bad sellers…any 007Forever fan can have it on request!

[Note from Matt and Alex: Three keys to getting signed pieces from the stars themselves 97% of the time 1) ask for the item to be inscribed to you personally, an assurance for the actor that the item is not for immediate resale 2) enclose the item you want signed to inside a padded, self-addressed stamped envelope or enclose international stamp coupons for items to be shipped back to you overseas 3) include a brief, heartfelt note about how you enjoy the actor’s work. Following these three steps often mean collectors receive delightful personalized correspondence attached to their star autographs!]

Matt: Are you considering a trip as a dealer/fan to Bond Collectors’ Weekend in New Orleans?

Alex: It would certainly be an interesting event as I go over as I can to make an appearance in the US. I think Bond fans there at your New Orleans meet will appreciate my wares.

Matt: What are some of the trends you foresee in autograph collecting? How have “Bonds on the market” changed over the years?

Alex: The trends are bad for collectors! Every day, it seems, more and more fakes hit the market and people without a source of reference like you, Matt or me, buy such bad stuff. I am working at the moment on a signature reference book specialized on James Bond stars! [Watch for excerpts here at Collectors’ Corner.] I authenticate most of my stuff in the very best way: I have a great signature library from my in person visits with Bond movie stars…from the 60’s until through today’s celebrities. Especially helpful is my extensive signature documentation for the writings of Sean Connery. I am searching for an American publisher for my reference book, which will be ready at end of this year! Now the prices for the good stuff, the fully authenticated stuff, seems to increase each day as many celebrities have stopped signing, even in personal appearances, and are very hard to get as is Connery. Sean Connery’s true signature is extremely tough to find, and at the same time, Mr. Brosnan has too many fans that request an autograph to sharply increase his signing value.

Matt: What else do you specialize in Bond-wise?

Alex: Original movie props used and made for the Bond movies as mentioned; 007-related documents, especially signed contracts from the stars themselves, star-signed checks and bill payments, inscribed books and private documents, for an example Sean Connery’s private membership card from Beverly Hills Country Club…my thanks to 007Forever’s readers for providing this opportunity. I look ahead to receiving their email!

More collecting story ideas? Write us!

Zero Minus Ten

The Hero: James Bond; The Villain: ??? The Bond Girl: Sunny Pei; Supporting Characters: “M”, Q, Moneypenny, T.Y. Woo, Chen Chen; Locations Covered: Hong Kong, Australia, Jamaica; First Published: 1997

Someone long ago called it the “Undertaker`s Wind”, but hardly anyone in Jamaica referred to it by that name anymore. The Undertaker`s Wind was supposed to blow the bad air out of the island at night. In the morning, the “Doctor`s Wind” would come and blow the sweet air in from the sea.—-Zero Minus Ten, page 1.

In the passage quoted above, Raymond Benson was referring to a Jamaican superstition about the weather. For all intents and purposes, he might as well have been talking about the current state of the Bond literary franchise. Prior to his taking over that is!

Zero Minus Ten is a tough, raw, back-to-basics Bond novel that pays tribute to fans of both the cinema Bond and the literary Bond. It contains the best of both worlds, and should be a crowd pleaser for all.

Zero Minus Ten starts off with a teaser of sorts. A mission before the main mission, and one that is totally unrelated to the rest of the book. Chapter Two: Three Events, sets up what will become the catalyst for the investigation Bond will undertake. The events include an atomic bomb exploding in the Australian Outback, an explosion that destroys the entire Board-of-Directors of Eurasia Enterprises, and the gunning down of several customs agents in England. What`s the connection? Is there one?

Bond is sent to Hong Kong to investigate who may be responsible for these and several other terrorist attacks that have taken place in Hong Kong or with corporations doing business in Hong Kong. Could someone be trying to set up a potential war between China and Britain? A conflict that could possibly destroy the peaceful transition from British rule to Chinese rule that`s due to take place July 1st, 1997?

I haven’t mentioned the villains yet and for good reason. There are several who may have a motive for wanting to destroy peace between England and China. Those include an insane Saddam Hussein-like General Wong, who is just chomping at the bit to go ahead and invade Hong Kong with force, a Triad (a type of Chinese mafia) leader who hates Communist rule, and the President of Eurasia Enterprises, who is bitter at England for turning her back on Hong Kong. Even if you were to guess who did what to whom, it`s unlikely you`d figure out why until the very last few pages. Benson throws in enough red-herrings to confound even the most savvy mystery reader.

You can tell from reading the novel that Benson did his homework. The novel is rich in detail. The greatest thing that Benson does for Zero Minus Ten is “personalize” Hong Kong. By that I mean he makes Hong Kong seem just like a person. Not a soulless, steel and concrete mega monstrosity, but a living, breathing, vibrant human being. Through the many different characters Benson presents, you get a sense of anxiety for Hong Kong. A sense of worry for her. You feel how many residents now feel. Nervous with anticipation for her future. I cannot reiterate this enough. I was really impressed with how I felt about Hong Kong after putting down the book. I felt like i`d made and lost a new friend all at once. I feel this was the greatest achievement of Benson`s effort.

I was also impressed with the amount of background material presented about Hong Kong and the Triad`s. Benson gives you quite an education on Hong Kong`s evolution into the city she has become today. The rich background history lays an excellent foundation to later explain who is doing what to whom and why. It makes the main villain`s scheme seem much more plausible, and makes you somewhat more sympathetic to his cause.

Benson writes Bond back as a man in or around his early forties. The emotional baggage is still there, but without overtly giving in to today`s political correctness. Benson`s style of writing is definitely different than Fleming`s, yet it`s not necessary to copy Fleming`s style when you`ve captured the essence of who Bond is. And Benson has done that.

The Bond girl in this story is a prostitute, but to Benson`s credit, he never takes the easy way out in writing her character. Though she is a prostitute, Benson writes her with intelligence, an educated background, and an attitude. Benson also creates an interesting paradox that helps add to the chemistry between Bond and Sunny Pei. At one point, her very existence depends on her killing Bond, while Bond is trying to keep her alive by doing a nasty job for one of the villains.

Benson also brings a genuine sense of humor to the novel that has been lacking for quite a while. Most of the best humor comes from T.Y.Woo, or his son Chen Chen, who at just 15, has been put in charge of driving Bond around Hong Kong. I laughed out loud at Bond receiving “flammable shoelaces” from “Q” or Moneypenny telling Bond she`d whisper him “sweet and sour nothings”.

As I said, Benson`s novel is rich in detail. Sometimes too rich. Pages 50 through 53 contain a lengthy review of a dinner that Bond enjoy`s while in Hong Kong. Chapters 6 and 7 extensively cover a game of mahjong between 007, Guy Thackeray (The President of Eurasia Enterprises) and T.Y.Woo, Bond`s liason in Hong Kong. If you`ve had some experience playing mahjong but still had a few questions on how to play it, these chapters are for you. If you`ve always wanted to know how to play mahjong, these chapters are for you. But if you`re like me and never likely to play it, these two chapters can be awfully tedious. It would have been nice if these passages had been consolidated somewhat.

The book really hit`s it`s stride though beginning with Chapter 8: Private Dancer, where Bond hooks up with Sunny Pei. Up to this point we`ve had the teaser, the set up, and then two long chapters about mahjong. But here is where the action begins. From here on out, Zero Minus Ten is a fast paced, page turner. It`s no coincidence that, from this point onward, it only took me a day to finish out the book. Literally, I could not put it down. I did not want to put it down.

No book is perfect, and Zero Minus Ten has it`s faults. My gripes with the book are minor though. Benson is more explicit with how he approaches the love scenes than Fleming or Gardner ever were. I sort of miss that subtlety. I also felt Bond`s infiltration into Guangzhou was a lost opportunity. I was looking for a Mission:Impossible type scenario here, and it turned into more or less of a shootout. I felt the Stephanie Lane character too closely resembled Xenia Onatopp from “Goldeneye”, the “coldhearted bastard” remark from “M” was too reminiscent of the exchange between “M” and 007 in “Goldeneye” and the scene with “Q” seemed culled straight from any one of the films.

Still, small gripes aside, this is the hardest, tightest, and fastest Bond thrillers to come along in ten years. It`s Bond at his most basic. As of this writing, we aren`t certain what Hong Kong`s future will hold with China. But with James Bond and Raymond Benson around, it`s looking good so far.

You Only Live Twice

The Hero: James Bond; The Bond Girl: Kissy Suzuki; The Villain: Dr. Guntram Shatterhand; Supporting Characters: Emmy Shatterhand, Dikko Henderson, Tiger Tanaka; Locations Covered: Japan; First Published: 1964

The most haunting James Bond novel ever written. It is also one of the most disturbing novels in the series and it is a must read for anyone who wants to know what the emotional center of James Bond is like. Be warned now, if you have not read On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, do not proceed any further, because this review contains plot spoilers for both novels.

This is a psychological 007 novel where Bond has become a minor character, and the new main character has become revenge. Revenge for Tracy. His venengece is to be extracted on the man who killed his wife, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, as well as his hellish henchmen named Irma Bunt. His problems have slowly become the problems of the Service as 007 is now a security risk.

M has only one choice in his mind. Fire him! He is then pursuaded by a close friend to give 007 a final chance on what he considers an impossible plan. Sending him to Japan for “Magic 44”. “Magic 44” is a code word use between the Japanese Secret Service, (JSS) and MI6. Magic 44 are secrets that are relayed from the JSS to the CIA, which in turn is supposed to give it up to MI6. In the novel, MI6 has not recieved any of the information about to be passed along. Only the Americans have it. Bond`s mission is to cut out the American middle man and get a direct link from JSS to MI6.

Bond isn’t impressed with M’s plan, but reluctently heads off to Japan. Bond has been paired with two of Japan’s best agents, the Head of the Japanese Secret Service, named Tiger Tanaka and an Austrailian agent named Dikko Henderson, who seems to be half drunk from the first moment we meet him. Dikko Henderson and Tiger Tanaka are superb additions to You Only Live Twice as 007’s only friends.

Sadly, neither have been heard from since in any of the most recent 007 novels, but both are well written and created with Fleming’s flair and style. Both are very impressive characters, and are deeply written.

Dr. Guntram Shatterhand and Emmy Shatterhand are the villians. If you check chronology, you can guess rather easily who these villains are. Fleming was splendid with his portraits of both of these hellish characters.

Shatterhand is a botanist who, with his wife, has come to Japan near the first of the year, 1963 (right after Tracy’s death). Dr. Shatterhand has asked that he be able to bring one million British pounds into the country, in exchange for property where he will be able to build a lavish garden, filled with fatal plants and killer animals, such as piranhas. . The plants and animals that Shatterhand has placed in the garden are expertly described, and add a good touch of detail to the character

As soon as word gets around, people begin to flock to the “Castle Of Death” that Dr. Guntram Shatterhand has created. He sets up a bright red balloon, that entices people to kill themselves in Shatterhand’s garden. He has built it for that sole purpose of. A modern day Jack Kevorkian, he has built the Castle because suicide is highly respected in Japan. He later explains that if Bond dies, he will move out of Japan and head to South America to build another Castle of Death. His single motive is to see people die! He has a morbid fascination with the death of people, including 007.

“Every where, Mr. Bond, people want to kill themselves. Japan, South America, Africa. When I kill you, I will destroy the Castle and move on.”

Shatterhand employs a group of men to care for the Castle and Garden. They are protected almost as well as Shatterhand himself, with knee high boots, surgical face masks, and protective clothing.

Tiger Tananka and the rest of the Japanese Government become suspicious of Shatterhand’s intentions, so he selects a great agent of his to venture into the Garden. The Agent dies weeks later, muttering something about pink dragonflies.

Bond is ordered to kill them by Tiger Tanaka, in exchange for the Magic 44. Well, Bond gets himself captured while trying to kill Shatterhand.

Shatterhand then tortures Bond and then plans to cut off his head with a sword. Good plan, great idea, but horribly done for the villian. He talks forever and screws up and finally Bond is able to kill him, and severly injures Emmy Shatterhand.

Also in the mix is a change of race for 007. He becomes Japanese. He has his skin dyed and haircut changed. He takes up residence with Kissy Suzuki because Tiger knows her and has convinced her to take him in. Bond has an affair with her, and eventually they produce a child together. Throw in the fact that Bond also develops amnesia and you can see why this is one of the most action packed and best received Bond thrillers by Ian Fleming.

Win, Lose or Die

The dastardly terrorist organization, BAST ( which stands for Brotherhood of Anarchy and Secret Terror), have hatched an ambitious scheme. They have discovered that a top-secret summit meeting between the United States, England and The Soviet Union will be held on the HMS battleship Invincible,which is on a training exercise in Europe. BAST plan to abduct the three world leaders (which, at the time, were President George Bush, Margaret Thatcher and good old Gorby) and hold them hostage for a ridiculously high sum of money each. Deciding that a forceful take-over of the battleship is ill-advised (they practiced the raid on an oil tanker), BAST plan to conduct a low-profile take-over instead. They have moles in the Navy, operatives on board the Invincible, and many well-trained soldiers.

The only thing they weren`t counting on is James Bond coming in and stuffing things up.

Bond, while investigating the oil tanker incident, is assigned to go
undercover on the Invincible to protect the three world leaders. BAST decide that Bond is a major hindrance to their plot, so they make numerous attempts on his life. Bond only narrowly avoids being shot down in his Harrier jet and evades assassination while on holiday in Italy. Bond eventually makes it to the Invincible, but BAST are still anxious to go ahead as planned. After a lengthy and dangerous, but not boring, investigation on board the ship, Bond heads ashore to report the situation. But BAST put their plan into action and eventually succeed in abducting the three world leaders and taking over the entire battleship, crew and all. It`s up to Bond to save the day, and, living up to all expectations, does so. You seriously think he wouldn`t?

Win, Lose or Die is one of John Gardner`s best Bond novels. It is rarely boring, and the handful of boring scenes don`t last long. Unlike in most of Gardner`s novels, the action sequences are spread at good intervals throughout the book, so you always have something to look forward to. James Bond, while technically no longer a secret service agent in this story (he`s turned into a Navy Captain instead), is at his best for a Gardner story. The Bond girl, Beatrice (pronounched Bee-ah-tree-shay, for anyone who was wondering) is Gardner`s best heroine. The villain, Bassam Baradj, is pretty flimsy, but he isn`t in the story much. The plot is interesting and involving, but isn`t overly-complicated like some of Gardner`s others. The Christmas setting is nice, with an insightful look into Bond`s past as a child and the last Christmas he spent with his parents. The main hench(wo)man in the story is the knife-wielding Sarah Deeley, a total psycho who`s main occupation is corpse-production. She`s great fun. Bond`s only real ally is Admiral John Walmsley, and he`s quite fun to read about. Bond even gets to meet the three world leaders in question, in an amusing scene.

The action sequences are some of the best in any Gardner novel, from the opening hang-glider assault on the oil tanker, Bond`s knife-fight with Sarah Deeley, a healthy dose of aerial action in fighter jets and the climactic assault by the special forces on the battleship Invincible, and a shoot-out inside the Rock of Gibraltar itself. All of these scenes are fun, and, as said before, are spread throughout the story and even intervals.

There`s no doubting it, Win, Lose or Die is a classic Bond novel from Gardner, and also one of his finest.

When the Snow Melts

The Snow Melted: A Review of the Albert R. Broccoli Autobiography When the Snow Melts
by Alan D. Stephenson

Autobiographies are a two-edged sword: On the one side, reading the subject’s own words theoretically preclude any hearsay or poor research. On the other, unless the subject was in actual practice an author, the reader must often wade through less than stellar writing.

Such is the case of When the Snow Melts, the life story of late film producer Albert Romolo Broccoli, best known for having brought to the screen—along with business partner Harry Saltzman—legendary secret agent James Bond.

Let me preface these remarks by stating that Broccoli’s contributions to the film industry—not simply on a commercial basis but a personal one—are unparalleled in modern movie making. Broccoli was an old-school auteur in the mold of Goldwyn or Selznick. But unlike the personas often associated with those moguls, “Cubby”—a moniker bestowed on him as a child for his similarity to a certain comic strip character—could be a man of great generosity and humble gestures. That he overcame ignoble beginnings to reach this pinnacle is also a matter of no contest. Yet over the course of 327 pages it’s also apparent that Broccoli was more than a little enamoured of his own publicity and easily dismissive of that which failed to reinforce the myth, two conditions that may also have fueled his ability to hold a grudge; who better to hold in disregard than those with a potential to upset the legend?

Broccoli’s formative years were definitely earthy and the reverence he held for his parents was unstinting. But more than a few entries—like the one noting young Albert’s inspirational encounter with Lindbergh as the aviator embarked on his historic transatlantic flight—impart a surreal, screenplay-like quality to much of the proceedings, something which co-writer Donald Zec undoubtedly enabled, though his contribution beyond the pro- and epilogues is unclear. (For example, certain turns of phrase appear so frequently [e.g., “in the event”] you might wonder if anyone was consulted on the project at all.)

The chapters detailing to Broccoli’s childhood are few and brief, the bulk of the book focusing instead on his introduction to Hollywood and the characters populating it prior to WWII, then shifting to his post-war career in film—first as an agent and later as a producer-including his various marriages. (Broccoli writes lovingly of each but it is third and last wife Dana—who would figure prominently in shaping the Bond films—for whom he surely held the greatest affection. Indeed, the book is dedicated to her.)

As the result of a chance meeting, Albert became fast friends with Howard Hughes. Though popularly remembered as a wealthy recluse and aviation innovator, Hughes also dabbled in film (though more to the point of this book, he dabbled in starlets). While their lifelong friendship is fascinating—Broccoli’s anecdotes offer a unique perspective on Hughes, underscored by the men’s contrasting styles-many of the stories have little or nothing to do with Cubby’s own rise to fame. Indeed, a good portion of … Snow essentially amounts to a wholly unrelated biography of Hughes, a pattern repeated with passages on Connery, Moore, et al. I would rather have read more on Broccoli’s stint in the navy—”a lively and eventful three years” to which he grants a cursory four pages—the first of several instances where a possibly unimpressive record (he never rose above ensign) appears to have been glossed-over in favor of his own brand of bravado.

The balance of the book is devoted to Broccoli’s orchestration of the most successful film franchise in history. It’s this latter half of the biography that will naturally appeal to 007 fans but also where the story telling gets most unwieldy. For example, a long section about Grace Jones seems designed primarily to vilify her for what most already know: Entitled or not-Broccoli doesn’t openly take sides on this one-she’s given to regular bouts of diva-like behavior. Perhaps Broccoli wanted to tell some stories we hadn’t heard before, but so much of this comes-off as petty. Why else mention Connery’s suit against EON—a move which Cubby clearly regarded as ungrateful—while skipping the infamous McClory trial or the founding—along with Harry Saltzman—of tax-shelter Danjaq? In that same vein, Broccoli is kind in his recollections regarding Saltzman, but it’s clear he found their partnership more often trying than enduring.

The book is obviously skewed in favor of the Bond series (it did, after all, consume the last 35 years of Broccoli’s life) with occasional references throughout even the early chapters. As such, it’s sure to please those hardcore fans seeking every nuance and thus willing to excuse the occasional sin of omission. The casual reader, however, may be disappointed by the manuscript itself and Broccoli’s lack of humility—despite constant protestations to the contrary—in particular.

Even before his untimely death in 1995, those who knew Cubby were quick to cite at least his magnanimity if not his actual genius yet these qualities are—surprisingly—not exhibited in …Snow…. Indeed, nothing here really gets at the heart of the man; the book is essentially a reasonably detailed chronicle of events sans introspection. I’m not suggesting that yet another Hollywood “tell all” was needed but some “why” along with the “how” would have been a welcome addition. EON is effectively a family business with a well-deserved reputation for acting defensively; Broccoli’s death may still be too recent a memory for them to permit a third-party biography, but one suspects there’s an untold story equal to what’s revealed in When the Snow Melts and we can only hope that one day it also gets written.

Trevor Anderson 0008

In the 1960`s Clyde Allison [a pseudonym for William Knowles] paid tribute to Ian Fleming and his master spy James Bond by creating Agent 0008 Trevor Anderson and the agents of the Evil Sadisto. Because they were only published in paperback not many survived making the ones that did extremely rare. He wrote at least 68 novels during his time, a time in which his books were considered soft porn.

With titles such as Platypussy, Nautipussy, Gamefinger, Sadisto Royale, For Your Sighs Only, The Sex-Ray and 0008 Meets Modesta Blaze along with eye catching cover art, it`s easy to see why they may have caused some controversy back then.

By todays standard`s however, the racy content would have a difficult time fetching much attention. The cover art is provocative, but the contents are tame.

William Knoles committed suicide in 1972.

Tomorrow Never Dies (Novelization)

Movie novelizations are notoriously bad, as the action is badly translated from the silver screen to the printed page. Thankfully, Raymond Benson`s adaptation of the 18th Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies, is an exception. Far from being a direct copy of what was seen in the cinema, the novel nevertheless remains faithful to Roger Spottiswoode`s film.

Just as a chef perfects a familiar recipe Benson had tweaked the plot of Tomorrow Never Dies to produce an original and compelling read. Without budgetary or time restraints, time is given to character development and background. We learn of Carver`s rise to power and the seeds of his madness, while Wai-Lin`s mission is given some much-needed back-story, which only strengthens the already impressive character.

The central theme of media manipulation is also examined in more detail than was seen on screen, with nice touches such as M leaking misinformation to the British press to ensure her position at MI6 is secure, adding a feeling of realism to the snowballing world crises.

One of the biggest changes is the character of Paris, now a far-more independent character ready to leave her husband at the drop of a hat – or dress – and willing to wear her involvement with 007 on her sleeve. Unfortunately, without the entrapment of a marriage impossible to escape, Paris loses her desperation and sympathy this making her death less of a tragedy.

While Tomorrow Never Dies fails to touch Zero Minus Ten`s crown, the novel stands head and shoulders above the usual tie-in pap and successful captures the excitement of one of the best Bond films in the canon.


The Hero: James Bond; The Bond Girl: Domino Vitale; The Villain: Emilio Largo; Supporting Characters: Guiseppe Petachi, Felix Leiter,Ernst Stavro Blofeld; Locations Covered: London, Shrublands, Nassau

Undoubtly one of Ian Fleming’s most memorable novels. It is the picture perfect Bond story with intrigue, murder, an impossible plot, two masterpiece villians, and the glorious girl. James Bond has returned once more in probably the most outrageous 007 thriller ever written. Ian Fleming, Jack Whittingham and Kevin McClory have done a fabulous job on everything in this book from the planning of the high-jacking, the Chemin de fer game against Largo, the search for the plane and the bombs, to the creation of SPECTRE and Ernst Blofeld.

Other elements are the basic Casino scene between either Bond and the villain, or 007 and the beautiful girl. In this case, it is the villain, Largo at Chemin de fer. The Villain’s liking of Bond in the opening, but hating him by the end. And of course, the Morland Specials, Vodka Martinis, and Walther PPK are all present for 007 in his mission. Now, onto the story. 007’s health is in the toilet! He is packed off by M to a place called Shrublands. There, he becomes involved with the first SPECTRE agent, Count Lippe. After nearly ripping 007 limb from limb on “The Rack”, James Bond decides that he must fry the Count in a piping hot Sitz bath. SPECTRE is “The Special Executive of Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, Extortion.”

This is the begining of James Bond’s problems with SPECTRE. Immediately following that, SPECTRE decides that this is the time for the final haul, the retirement job. The job, stealing two nuclear warheads from NATO. This can be summed up by the letter from SPECTRE on pages 75 -76:

Bond reached into his pocket for a cigarette. It couldn’t be, but yet it was so. Just what all of the services of the World had been dreading. Every tin-pot little nation would be making bombs in their backyard, so to speak.

Apperently, now there was no secret about the things now. It had been the prototypes that had been difficult-like the first gunpowder weapons or machine guns or tanks. Today, these were everyones bows and arrows. Tomorrow, or the day after, the bows and arrows would become nuclear weapons. And this was the first blackmail case. Unless SPECTRE was stopped, the word would get around and soon every criminal scientist with a chemical set and scrap iron would be doing it. If they couldn’t be stopped, there would be nothing to do but pay up. ”

Fleming had a problem with the CIA. It is rather evident in this passage from Page 116:

‘The man from CIA was due in on the Pan America flight at 1:15. His name was Larkin, F. Larkin. Bond hoped that he wasn’t a muscle bound ex-college man with a crew-cut and a desire to show up the incompetence of the British.’

What does that tell you about what Fleming thought? Well, Larkin is actually Felix Leiter.

The main Bond Girl here is the strong willed Italian named Domino. She is written beautifully by Fleming and her character is very interesting. When she meets Bond, she is attracted to him instantly, (aren’t all Bond girls?), and is sort of clinging to him nearer to the middle of the novel. But, at the end of the novel, it is very clear who she is. Other than in the middle, her presence in this novel is extremely strong, but is knocked out of being the “most interesting character”, by one person. Her lover, Emilio Largo.

Largo is the self-discribed pirate of Nassau. He owns a massive estate named Palmyra, a glorious yacht called the Disco Volante, and most importantly, the High Commander of SPECTRE’s field organization, on Operation Omega (Thunderball to MI6). His character is what makes the book. His prescene in scenes adds a vast ammount of style and flash to the novel. The only character (villian wise) that can match him is Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the famous head of SPECTRE.

The plot is a realistic one, compared to other Bond plots, (Doctor No, Live and Let Die, Goldfinger) and this one is more interesting than most of the other ones. The plot is still fresh today, (Broken Arrow, The Peacemaker).

The Casino scene where Bond plays Chemin De Fer against Largo is a highlight of the book. This is where Largo starts to really doubt that Bond is down here to buy property and that he is actually British Secret Service. The coolness that Largo shows is realistic and rather convincing.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld, (Who would reappear in later adventures) is basically a secondary character in the novel and that is rather well done. His character needed his own novels to develop and it was good that Fleming gave him that opportunity.

The World Is Not Enough (Novelization)

Raymond Benson’s novelization of The World Is Not Enough screenplay reads “fast and loose,” but of necessity, the book follows the screenplay so closely that fans will have to dig in with grit to unearth the fans’ treasures hidden inside.

By Mr. Benson’s own admission, he was rushed by Hodder & Staughton’s publishing schedule combined with a fast post-production on the TWINE final film, to do very much of anything exotic or innovative with the book. Raymond Benson’s knowledge of the James Bond phenomenon is encyclopedic in nature, however, and besides being a leading Bond writer, he is a fan’s fan who can recall chapter and verse of any significant Bond novel section, and he adds spicy details to his 007 movie novels.

Tidbits of Flemingiana are scattered throughout the TWINE novel, as when Bond savors the “scent and smell and sweat” of Valentin Zhukovsky’s casino (confer with Chapter 1 of “Casino Royale”). There are fun pokes at the Purvis/Wade/Feirstein scripts of recent years, shared lovingly, like when M admonishes Bond that “Contrary to what you may believe, Double-O Seven, the world is not populated by madmen who can hollow out volcanoes, fill them with big breasted women, and threaten the world with nuclear annihilation . . . ” (!) from a rejected Bruce Feirstein script bit. Benson adds his response, “Bond grinned at the irony of her remark . . . “. Bond ducks into the Bilbao, Spain art museum for a wistful look at great works after leaping from a window away from a sniper, in another place. We get fun and Fleming-like travelogue, weapons and vehicle details throughout.

Another help for any avid Bond movie fan Mr. Benson provides is his thorough covering over of some of the final film’s weightier continuity errors in his work, a pleasant tradition dating back to the first Bond novelization for “The Spy Who Loved Me”. How does Bond’s small craft leap up to destroy “Giuliana’s” gun placement on her boat? (Bond uses her craft as a launch ramp.) Why do all four of the dreaded parahawks chase down Bond instead of at least half targeting Elektra King on the slopes, to make Renard’s “attack” on her look valid? (Two hawks indeed chase King in the novel, until she is “frightened” enough to turn tail and head conveniently in Bond’s direction.) Bar bets and newsgroup disputes on TWINE continuity errors should be checked here first. Mr. Benson is thoroughly meticulous in making Bond’s world dovetail with our real world where possible.

Best of all the goodies, a delightfully Fleming-ish chapter late in the book explores in detail Renard’s history as a terrorist/Bond villain. Benson’s yarn of villain Renard and his “affair” with Elektra King receive treatment from Benson at a clever spot in the narrative, and makes this book worth a read by itself. Thanks, Raymond!

In sum, “The World Is Not Enough” movie novel gives readers a quick taste of Bond while they await Benson’s forthcoming novel, “Doubleshot”. Plus in its first printing British hardcover, The World Is Not Enough from Hodder & Staughton, is fetching US $75 to $150 for its scarcity only two months after publication! (Rumor has it Hodder ran merely 2,250 copies of the first printing state, with many copies gone to libraries immediately.) Oh Hodder, when will you promote your Bond novels like you did years ago, when John Gardner standees and fancy displays headlined “License Renewed” and every Bond novel hit the NY Times list?

–Matt Sherman collects all the British Bond firsts and many more hot collectibles with you at 007Forever Collectors’ Corner.

The Spy Who Loved Me

The Hero: James Bond; The Bond Girl: Vivienne Michel; The Villain: Sluggsy; Locations Covered: Toronto, Adirondacks; First Published: 1962

PLOT: Destroy a motel for insurance and take out Viviene Michel in the process. Novel presented from Michel`s point of view.

REVIEW: This is Fleming`s most experimental Bond novel. The novel`s heroine, Vivienne Michel, narrates the novel in the first person and the first 36% is about her childhood, her background, her first sexual experiences, two unhappy love affairs and an abortion. The villains only appear 46% of the way through the story, and Bond at the 61% mark. However, it`s arguably one of Fleming`s best novels and a fast and exciting read: it`s much better paced than most of his other works.

Fleming`s characters tended to be cardboard cutouts, but not here; the characters are almost all three-dimensional. Chapters 8 through 10 are possibly Fleming`s best sustained, most exciting bits of writing; there are so many great moments – the whole section is brilliantly thought-out. Bond`s entrance is one of these great moments; it`s an exhilarating audience-pleaser that also emphasizes the book`s fairy-tale aspects.

Fleming sets it up well. Chapter 9 ends on a high point with Vivienne pinned down. Deciding where to begin a chapter matters; not only does ending in mid-beat make a difference but moving to a new part enhances it. The reader knows that a new beginning is around the corner, which makes it even more exciting; also, the title “Him” suggests intrigue and mystery.

So too is Horror and Sluggsy`s arrival: compare the contrasts. The two gangsters are caught in the middle of the rain and Horror politely asks to come in. He plays on her sympathy; they`re soft, quiet, though Sluggsy giggles. They take their rain jackets off and Vivienne knows she`s in danger. The elegance of Horror`s clothes, not at all an expendable detail, adds to the tension and characterization. Horror and Sluggsy are great villains. They`re living, breathing people. Horror is as subdued as Sluggsy is hyper. There are many subtle, but crucial touches and Fleming deftly mixes the quiet with the sinister. Notice Horror`s indifference, how blase he is. Horror isn`t interested in Sluggsy`s sexual interests, telling him to lay off. Think how less effective it would have been had both men been sexually interested in Vivienne.

Bond is much better drawn here than in any of Fleming`s other novels. He`s more elegant, more fastidious, and even has a sense of humour. It`s easily Fleming`s strongest portrayal of Bond, and oddly, more like the Bond in the films: “He turned to the Englishman. “Hey, limey. What`s your name?”

“Bond. James Bond.”

“That`s a pretty chump name. From England, huh?”

“That`s right. Where`s the registry? I`ll spell it out for you.”

“Wise guy, huh?””

He`s also much smarter, perhaps because Fleming wasn`t burdened trying to reveal Bond`s thoughts – which arguably weakened Bond into a cardboard dummy – instead portraying him objectively (compare how badly drawn and dopey Bond is in the next novel, the extremely flawed “On Her Majesty`s Secret Service”).

He`s also more human. Count how many times he smiles – at least 16 times in Chapters 10, 11 and 12 – approximately once every other page, and these aren`t “smiles” for the sake of it, like some annoying Gardner tic, but are dramatically relevant and they shade his character, such as when he`s reassuring Vivienne. Some of the writing is brilliant – I`d forgotten just how vibrant Fleming`s writing could be. In Chapter 12, Vivienne notices the red fleck in Horror`s eyes that she had seen once before – Fleming is clever and doesn`t say where (in Chapter 9, when Horror beat her).

Horror tries to be friendly about breaking it up for the night. Bond asks about the motel`s viability; Horror is on the defensive wanting to know where`s that pal of mine, trying to put the attention elsewhere. Consider this passage from Chapter 15: “Those were the last words he spoke to me. When I woke up the next morning he was gone. There was only the dent down the bed where he had lain, and the smell of him on the pillow. To make sure, I jumped out of bed and ran to see if the grey car was still there. It wasn`t. It was a beautiful day and there was heavy dew on the ground, and in the dew I could see the single track of his footprints leading to where the car had been. […]

The ruins of the motel were black and hideous and a ghostly wisp of smoke rose straight up into the still air from the remains of the lobby block. I went back into the cabin and had a shower and began briskly to pack my things into my saddle-bags. Then I saw the letter on the dressing table and I went and sat on the bed and read it. It was written on motel paper from the writing desk. The writing was very clear and even and he had used a real pen and not a ball point.”

This is an excellent detail, and not detail for the sake of detail (which Fleming was sometimes guilty of). The following passage later in the chapter is breathtaking: “I watched the wreck of the black sedan, that had by now been hauled up the cliff, being towed over the lawn to the road. There the ambulance was driven over beside it, and I turned away as a wet bundle was carefully lifted out on to the grass. Horror! I remembered again those cold, red-flecked eyes. I felt his hands on me. Could it have happened?”

It`s brilliant. It has the same hypnotic quality that slow motion sometimes does in movies, and the paragraph is cinematic. (Fleming also accurately captures how a person might act under the circumstances.) Fleming is often psychologically skilful: Vivienne doesn`t want to get too close to Kurt (because she`s still wounded from Derek? Because it doesn`t pay to sleep with your boss?) so she invents friends, but this means sitting in some lonely cinema after a lonely meal with all the nuisance of men trying to pick her up. But Kurt remains so *korrekt* and their relationship on such a straightforward and even highminded level that her apprehensions come to seem idiotic and more and more she accepts a comradely way of life that seems not only totally respectable but also adult in the modern fashion. (In Chapter 8, Vivienne eats alone out of tins, creating an untenable situation). Her reasons for becoming involved with Kurt (Chapter 5) are well thought out.

Involved with Kurt, Vivienne realizes that, for women, where there exists intimacy, attachment then follows. She considers it inevitable that they become lovers after growing so close. She listens for the sound of his steps on the stairs, worships the warmth and authority of his body, and is happy at all times to cook and mend and work for him, and envisions herself six paces behind him on the street like some native bearer.

The Phanceys are cold to her until they hatch their plan. They`re nice until the last day when Mr Phancey grabs at her and uses coarse language even when his wife is within earshot; this reflects on Mrs Phancey as it raises interesting questions about her, her feelings towards sex – it`s not surprising that they`re childless. The entire sequence is excellent psychology since people do act this way in real life, though it`s marred by Fleming`s “gee-whiz” writing style. After Sluggsy finds her in the woods, Vivienne reflects how minor her past troubles really were. Later, Horror`s beating relaxes her; the pain being so much greater than the tension of waiting for it, unravels her nerves and puts her at ease and she also realizes how much the simple pleasures of life mean at such times. In Chapter 9, Sluggsy reprimands her like he`s the stern parent, and she`s the bad child. Later in the chapter Sluggsy lectures her, shaming her about his hair condition and how it also kills the hairs inside his nose.

Now that Bond`s with her, she becomes bolder with Sluggsy and Horror (when deciding which cabin Bond will have) – she`s no longer the centre of attraction and finds safety in numbers. Bond prepares her for the worst and gives her his code number; she rationalizes why he invoked bad luck – it`s excellent neurotic psychology. Moreover, her former life and its troubles seem almost years away – the here and now is all there is and all that matters (which is excellent when considering how long ago and far away her past troubles are – the here and now is all there is).

There are also so many wonderful human moments and sensitive details. In Chapter 4, Len Holbrook tells Vivienne that above all she must write about people, something Fleming does. Wallace Stevens wrote in his preface to William Carlos Williams`s “Collected Poems 1921-1931” (1934) that “Something of the unreal is necessary to fecundate the real.” The reverse is also true – and was crucial to Fleming`s success. Umberto Eco once wondered aloud why Fleming spent so many pages on realism in the novels. It wasn`t, as Kingsley Amis also agreed, to give the reader a break from fantasy; the reader gets that by putting the book down. It was to give the fantasy a basis in reality and make it resonate. As the critic Martin Seymour-Smith once remarked, no writer who cannot convey a sense of the real can be major. In Chapter 14, after sex, Bond tells Vivienne that she screamed when she climaxed – she hadn`t known; it`s an excellent detail. Fleming could be a sensationalist, but not here.

His handling is sensitive and realistic. Later, Vivienne thinks, “I suddenly had an impulse to wake him up and ask him: “Can you be nice? Can you be kind?” Vivienne watches Bond naked and contemplates that people should be nudists. Until they`re forty. Then asks him never to get fat. Later, she asks him “what`s a bimbo?” It might have been bad – in John Gardner`s hands it probably would have – but here it isn`t. The details, the sensitivity (“Now, that`s enough questions. Go to sleep.”) make it work.

At the end of Chapter 13, Bond and Vivienne gradually come to a consensus about sleeping together. It`s good (though not great) writing because it`s so simple – they don`t discuss the problem, instead, the conversation gradually works around it. Bond`s letter (Chapter 15) has so many wonderful touches; his occasional formality (since others will see the letter) makes it even more affectionate: leaving a c/o address, the sense of camaraderie, the PS. about her trye pressures being too high for the South. Try Guerlain`s “Fleurs des Alpes” instead of Camay! His making sure that Vivienne gets treated like a princess: “The lieutenant took off his cap and produced a notebook and pencil and pretended to go through his notes to give me a chance to get started on a doughnut. […]

“But what`s worrying me is that radio just hasn`t left me alone since then. Had to cut down my speed the whole way here from Route 9 to keep on listening to instructions from the station – that Albany was interested in the case, that even the top brass in Washington was breathing down our necks. Never head such a load coming over the air. Now, miss, can you tell me how it`s come about that Washington`s mixed up in this, and within a bare couple of hours of Glens Falls getting the first report?”

I couldn`t help smiling at his earnestness. I could almost hear him calling over to O`Donnell as they roared along, “Hell, we`ll have Jack Kennedy on our tails any moment now!” […] “But that`s more or less all I know abut him, except that – except that he seemed a wonderful guy.”

“So he was a commander. It was the only rank I liked the name of.”

The fairy tale story Bond tells Vivienne makes the novel even more cohesive; Bond asking that Vivienne promise to forget his involvement is a wonderful human moment and makes Bond a three-dimensional person. There are other wonderful details: Bond and Vivienne agreeing about the idiocy of espionage (though he doesn`t want her to spread her ideas too widely or he`ll find himself out of a job, which is phrased so exactly that Bond sounds sympathetic, he doesn`t mean it seriously, but he wants to draw her in); Bond asking if he`s boring her, wouldn`t she wouldn`t rather switch on the tv, he smiles, oh no, go on – this is clever writing and shows that she`s interested. The bedtime story ends on a special note: it`s clear that the odds were monumentally stacked against Bond ever appearing at the motel, which makes the reader contemplate what would have happened if Bond hadn`t: “good that I came something told me you were at the end of the road.” The way Bond discusses Horror and Sluggsy: “how did you get mixed up with those two?” is soft, sympathetic and human; like a warm man, reassuring her. Unfortunately the “bedtime” story slows the book down and the novel never achieves the same high peak of tension. The pace deteriorates in the last third, and there`s some soggy writing in these sections, (e.g. Stonor`s speech in Chapter 15). Bond`s inability to kill in cold blood was always a soggy concept in Fleming, but here it weakens the story; it`s not clear why Bond doesn`t kill Horror and Sluggsy first chance he gets – especially since the story slows down – instead of waiting until later that night. Why don`t they kill Bond the first chance they get? Likewise, why do Sluggsy and Horror let Bond and Vivienne go out together to the car? Why were they prepared to give Bond a hand with the car, wouldn`t that have allowed Vivienne to escape, or did they intend to kill Bond then and there? Such logic loopholes weaken the novel.

However, the childish writing style mars the book and prevents it from being a minor literary classic. It`s like an out-of-tune piece of music, though so consistently out-of-tune so that the reader eventually adjusts. The breathless “girl`s-own-adventure” writing style makes Vivienne sound like a dingbat; in Chapter 2, she mentions that her hair is “a dark brown with a natural wave and my ambition is one day to give it a lion`s streak to make me look older and more dashing” which makes her sound stupid, vapid, like a 9 year old girl (though it`s conceivable that in real life she`d be this way). This sentence says it all about the book`s writing:

“WOKO announced forty minutes of `Music to Kiss By` and suddenly there were the Ink Spots singing `Someone`s Rockin` my Dream Boat` and I was back on the River Thames and it was five summers ago and we were drifting down past Kings Eyot in a punt and there was Windsor Castle in the distance and Derek was paddling while I worked the portable.”

(Chapter 2)

Six “and”s in a 64 word sentence; for those who care this has some of Fleming`s longest sentences, the passage in the same chapter where Vivienne tells about the “idiotic joint dance” runs 97 words.